A report from Digital World Tokyo (via Textually.org) has the interesting news that more people in Japan access the Internet through mobile devices than through wired connections, and more frequently. At the end of 2005, an estimated 69.2 million people were using the Internet from mobile devices, compared with 66 million from conventional PCs. This is a startling figure, and one I can only assume comes from a much cheaper data transfer pricing model in Japan compared with elsewhere. We've seen recently that UK providers like O2, Vodafone and T-Mobile are launching high speed mobile services, but they also cost significantly more than fixed line services, and come with much more restrictive limits on data usage, which prevents them from being a competitor for fixed line Internet access.
One side effect of cheap access to mobile Internet services in Japan has been an explosion in mobile commerce services, with the Japanese mobile commerce market worth an estimated US$6.3 billion in 2005. 2005 was also the first year that saw sales of conventional goods via mobile websites exceed the sale of mobile-specific content, such as ringtones and video clips.